Parking Meters Come To Washington Avenue

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The Washington Avenue Corridor will become the city's first Parking Benefits District, and the experiment means lots of parking meters in the district.

Unlike normal parking meters, whose revenue goes to the general fund, 60 percent of the PBD meters will be returned to the district to fund "neighborhood projects such as landscaping, street maintenance, public safety, lighting, sidewalk and pedestrian improvements, and more," the city says. The other 40 percent will go for the PBD's expenses.

It starts May 1 and the meters will be working from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.

"This is a huge step in the right direction for the City of Houston," said Don Pagel, deputy director for Houston's Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department. "With hundreds of people moving into Houston each day, parking will continue to get worse and worse over time. We are glad to be one of the first, and certainly the largest, cities to adopt such an innovative strategy to reduce parking congestion and generate new revenues for the community."

A FAQ by the city says this:

Why install meters? New developments in the Washington Avenue Corridor have resulted in an increased demand for on-street parking that has spiraled out of control. The current parking problem will only continue to grow if no action is taken. By pricing the curb space, parking can be better managed. The return of revenue to the district will benefit all with improved sidewalks, lighting, marketing, landscaping, and security without additional costs to businesses owners or residents.

How much? During the day, until 3 p.m., it's $1 an hour. "After 6 pm, customers may select a flat rate of $7 for the entire night or an hourly rate of $2," the city says. (Between 3 and 6 p.m. -- the Wild West, baby! We guess.

"Drivers can pay for the meters with their credit card or via a phone where they can "'eed the meter' with a simple click of a button from anywhere using the Parkmobile App," the city says. "Houston's PBD plan also includes the designation of permit parking areas for residents and business owners of the corridor. Permit parking is effective Thursday - Sunday, 6 p.m. - 2 a.m."

The district is bounded by Houston Avenue, Center Boulevard, Lillian Street/Decatur Street and Westcott Street.

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